How to Become a Business Intelligence Consultant
Today’s businesses collect a staggering amount of data. But 90% of that data are unstructured, (raw data that has not been organized or analyzed). That’s where Business Intelligence Consultants come in. They help uncover, gather, analyze, interpret, and disseminate important business information pulled from mountains of data. The information consultants provide is valuable across industries because when it’s used effectively, it can help create action plans that increase revenue and propel business growth. Are you good at analyzing data and detecting patterns? The first step to becoming a business intelligence consultant is to have the right skills.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Business Intelligence Consultant?
An Analytical Mind
It takes a special skill to find the best ways to approach a problem to find a solution. And it starts with an innate curiosity and the desire to solve puzzles. As a business intelligence consultant, you need to look at data, reports, analytics, and business statements in an effort to advise clients on the best paths to take to success.
A Passion for Patterns
As you sift through data, you need to look for trends and patterns. A good business intelligence consultant can sometimes predict future performance by looking at what’s happened in the past and following clues. Your job is to visualize solutions to a business challenge by examining analytics, reporting, and forecasting models.
Regardless of the type of business, technology can make it more productive, accurate, and efficient. There are software applications specific to industries, but you can use business intelligence tools that work across organizations. Software can help gather, process, analyze, and visualize large data sets. You also need to know how to create reports and turn all the tech talk into something laypeople can understand.
As a consultant, you will guide businesses, executives, and employees to use sound processes and make good decisions based on all that data you collect and analyze. But to provide that insight, you need to be a great communicator able to meet your audience where it is and explain topics in a way that makes sense to the people in the room.
What Kind of Degree Do You Need for Business Intelligence?
Companies that hire business intelligence consultants look for knowledge, experience, and a track record of success. While the particular skills they require may depend upon their industry, they generally ask for their consultants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in business, computer science, statistics, or information technology. In place of many years of experience, they may require a Master of Business Administration or a Master of Management degree. Your degree should prepare you to take your innate skills to the next level.
Some of the master’s level coursework that will be valuable to you in your role as a consultant will be:
- Business Economics
- Financial Management
- Data-Driven Decision-Making
- Enterprise Operations
- Managing Organizations and Leading People
- Human Resource Management
- Marketing Essentials
Where to Look for Consultant Roles
If you are already employed, you may look at your own company for roles and responsibilities that will help you serve as a business consultant. You can also look at the “careers” section of corporate and nonprofit organization websites. But there are many job boards online, such as Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor that post job opportunities for consultants. Also be sure to create a LinkedIn account and look for jobs there while you network with likeminded professionals.
Gain Experience in the Field
The more experience you have in business, the more valuable you will be as a consultant. Seek out opportunities in information technology, market research, and corporate finance. Consider the responsibilities you will be required to perform and make sure you understand the role you might play:
- Review and analyze all available data
- Evaluate a company’s current systems for data collection and implement new systems as needed
- Educate employees on how to access and interpret data for future use
- Identify, describe, and critically evaluate information sources and recommend new sources of data collection
- Gather intelligence on a competitor’s plans through news reports and published interviews with key executives
- Evaluate merger and acquisition opportunities by researching a company’s products, customer demand, debts, and executives’ backgrounds
- Issue reports to all stakeholders with recommendations that can impact bottom line performance
Are you ready to advance your career? An advanced degree might help you get started. At National American University, we offer a wide range of business programs and degree levels. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or request more information now.